Founders of Make A Scene and preservers of leaf weaving
We don't want weaving to die out; we want young people to join us and continue this craft.
Tell us your story – how did you get here?
I am a British theatre designer who moved to Bali five years ago in search of inspiration to expand my creativity. Serendipitously, I came across Gus Ari, a master weaver of coconut leaf, and his team of weavers in Mengwi. They were reintroducing natural woven ‘dekorasi’ for their local weddings, to replace the environmentally damaging polystyrene ‘dekorasi’ which was so popular and widely accepted.
I was bowled over by the beauty of their weaving. This was weaving in a whole different light. For me it was Art. I instantly knew I had found a very special material that excited me and would become my new source of inspiration and focus. Gus Ari, a very progressive Balinese man, was equally excited by the idea of a collaboration, and together we formed Make A Scene.
Over the years, our collective has taken weaving to levels even we could not have foreseen. All of the craftsmen and women join Gus Ari and myself in adapting and challenging ourselves to make new breakthroughs in our work. We are proud of our sustainable products and we know that we have inspired other ‘makers’ to turn green, a movement that gains impetus in Bali, year upon year. At the same time, we have turned weaving leaves into a highly sought after and admired art form.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Breaking into the international Wedding Scene as large-scale specialists. We are building our portfolio and reputation for Iconic Weddings in Bali. Watch this space…
Also, taking members of our team to the United Arab Emirates this year for a research and development trip. Our ambition is to keep broadening our reach outside of Indonesia, sharing Bali craft with an international audience in a wide variety of contexts.
What impact have you made in Bali?
In the initial years we started to lead and inspire a Green Movement across the island – reintroducing natural woven ‘dekorasi’ to replace the environmentally damaging polystyrene ‘dekorasi’ so popular and acceptable at the time.
With each new year and visionary client, our reputation builds and precedes us that we are the leaders in innovative, large-scale and contemporary design.
What does the future look like for you?
We keep striving to facilitate the opportunity of producing projects abroad. Building bridges for export or teaching the art of contemporary weaving in other countries looking to innovate their craft heritage.
What do you love most about Bali?
The ephemeral ritual art of Bali. Offerings and decorations in a multitude of forms. Colours and material permutations.
What do you do whenever you're struggling for inspiration?
Travel! Whether it’s domestically, by simply getting out to nature, to the quiet, original Bali. Soaking up all the flora and fauna, breathing in the refreshing air and witnessing the original culture and down to earth practices that are now lost in all the touristy areas. Or internationally: for us, it’s Singapore and the UAE this year. Experiencing new architecture, exhibitions, events… They all feed new concepts, designs and explorations in materials and techniques to take back to our workshop.